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Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence…
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Someone Knows My Name: A Novel (2007)

by Lawrence Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8431552,922 (4.33)428
  1. 30
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (LDVoorberg)
  2. 74
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Bcteagirl)
    Bcteagirl: The book has a similar familial tone and is also told from the point of view of young girls growing up in a difficult situation. I had been looking for a book with a similar writing style and was happy to find this one. If you liked The Book of Negroes I recommend The Poisonwood Bible and vice versa.… (more)
  3. 20
    A Mercy by Toni Morrison (tangentialine)
  4. 20
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano (tangentialine)
  5. 10
    Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and Their Global Quest for Liberty by Cassandra Pybus (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Pybus offers a brilliant nonfiction account of the events in Hill's novel, as well as extending the story to penal colonies in Australia.
  6. 10
    Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer (_Lana_)
    _Lana_: If you enjoyed reading about slavery in a historical setting you might be interested in a true-tale of slavery’s modern form. Both books also have strong female protagonists.
  7. 10
    The Classic Slave Narratives by Henry Louis Jr Gates (Cecilturtle)
  8. 10
    The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (vancouverdeb)
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» See also 428 mentions

English (146)  Dutch (6)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Well researched historical fiction about an amazing young girl taken from her village in Africa in 1745 to South Carolina - landing on Sullivan's Island - and her life, told retrospectively from London in 1803. Recommend to anyone who loves American History - especially when told from a different perspective. It helped me understand the multiple perspectives of the slave trade and the life of the Africans taken out of their villages during the 18th century.
( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
Digital Audiobook performed by Andenrele Ojo.

Originally published in Canada as The Book of Negroes, Hill’s novel tells the story of Aminata Diallo from 1745 to 1802. Born a free Muslim in Guinea, she is kidnapped and sold into slavery, transported to the province of South Carolina to work the indigo fields. Her skill as a midwife makes her valuable and when she is sold to a wealthy Jewish merchant, she moves from the plantation to a city life in Charles Town. Eventually she travels to New York and gains her freedom, moving first to Nova Scotia, thence to London and traveling back to Africa, before finally settling in London.

What marvelous story telling! I was engaged and interested from beginning to end. I loved Aminata (a/k/a Meena). She’s intelligent, resourceful, emotionally and mentally strong. She’s also a keen observer and a good judge of character. She has the advantage of having been educated by her parents, so she knows how to read and write (in Arabic), and helping her mother as a midwife, she learned some of the other dialects / languages of her area of Africa. On the ship she learns English, then quickly picks up the Goolah dialect when she is on the indigo plantation. She never stops working toward her freedom and takes advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to achieve her goal for herself and her family. She always conducts herself with dignity and a fierce determination.

Hill does not sugarcoat the atrocities of slavery, nor the ingrained prejudices against and mistreatment of people of color. Aminata is blessed by relationships with some whites who are sympathetic, but her place as a slave and/or “lesser Negro” is always evident. Her skill as a midwife, coupled with her ability to read and write and keep books are assets that will help her navigate this new world, but she will not have an easy time of it. There are sickening scenes of brutality, but there are also scenes that show a loving family unit.

Hill populates the novel with a cast of memorable characters: the plantation overseer, the Jewish Lindo family, a free black tavern owner in New York, British officers, a ship’s surgeon, abolitionists and many slaves.

The book is based on historical events. There is a “Book of Negroes” in the archives of Canada and the United States, that lists the African men, women and children who worked for the British or behind British lines during the Revolutionary War. They were promised freedom for their services to the crown, and were transported to various colonies, but most went to Nova Scotia. From there, after years of bad treatment, Black Loyalists gathered to sail to Africa, where they founded Freetown, Sierra Leone. I’m glad I had the text available to read through the author’s notes and list of references, which are not included in the audio

The digital audio was performed by Andenrele Ojo, who did a marvelous job. I really felt as if Meena was telling me her story. ( )
  BookConcierge | Aug 2, 2018 |
This book has been on my "to read" shelf forever. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it. If you liked "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead, you'll love this book. ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
This is a rather epic tale. Without thinking too deeply about it, one could be highly impressed, but this is a lesser work than it first appears. It is a fictional tale centered around black slavery in North America. As such, I was able to compare it to Marlon James' very powerful, The Book of Night Women, and Leonard Pitts' eloquent, Freeman. My first sign of problems with this book came from its narrative perspective. Pitts' book was from a typical third person narrative, with most, if not all, of the main characters being women. James' book was a bit different in that, it too concentrated on women characters from a third person, but that narrative came from a source who was clearly storytelling from within the book's community environment. This author, also a male, tells a tale of a woman, too, but directly from that woman's first person perspective. The problem was that I was constantly saying to myself, a woman would not talk that way, act that way, think that way. It never was anything overt. It just never rang true for me. There were also issues of the author not knowing certain medical details well, but throwing them out as if they were obviously true. The next problem manifested itself in how the story narrative seemed to recycle itself over and over again with only a few new characters and a new location being different. Ultimately, it occurred to me that this was the worst form of historical fiction. It was not the type where it was firmly founded on established historical fact and the "fiction" came from historically unknowable character actions and dialogue to flesh out and personalize what happened. No, this was "fiction" in which a few historical facts were thrown in to mark time and to occasionally give a loose structure for the characters to push away from. It was pulp fiction overlaid on a serious subject. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
This was a beautiful book. I am actually shocked it was written by a man as the entire time I felt I was in Mena's head. This is the first book I have listened to on audio in over a decade and I am in love now with audio books. Probably because the narrator for this book was so good with varying accents. The story really gave a glimpse of what life was like for some slaves. It was very eye opening. But Mena was so smart and brave and made me want to learn about her life. ( )
  christinegrabowski | Apr 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
With mature themes (e.g., a rape scene on the ship, descriptive killings, and sexual situations), this book is suited for older teens. Hill clearly researched multiple and sources to provide an accurate acount of Aminata's heroic journey and brings to life crucial world history. Teens who enjoyed Sharon Draper's Copper Sun will appreciate this page-turning novel.
added by Christa_Josh | editSchool Library Journal, Gregory Lum (Mar 1, 2008)
 
An unforgettable epic, seen through the eyes of a sharply realized, indomitable heroine.
added by Christa_Josh | editBooklist, Sarah Johnson (Oct 15, 2007)
 
Unfortunately, [Hill's] didactic purpose gets the upper hand and overwhelms the story. Aminata is simply too noble to be believable, and other major characters are mainly symbolic. Nevertheless, Hill's fascinating source material makes this a good choice for book clubs and discussion groups.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Edward St. John (Oct 1, 2007)
 
In depicting a woman who survives history's most trying conditions through force of intelligence and personality, Hill's book is a harrowing, breathtaking tour de force.
added by Christa_Josh | editPublishers Weekly (Sep 3, 2007)
 
Livet som slave: Velbalansert historisk fiksjon om slavehandelen og ondskapens banalitet
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jun 29, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life.

--Deuteronomy 30:19
So geographers, in Afric-maps,

With savage-pictures fill their gaps;
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
--Jonathan Swift
Dedication
For my daughter, and kindred spirit, Genevieve Aminata
First words
I seem to have trouble dying.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Book of Negroes (2007) was published as Someone Knows My Name in the U.S.A, Australia, and New Zealand.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Publisher Comments:
Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom—and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for "adventurers" to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman's remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.
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Dreaming of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honored for their service to the king.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393065782, 0393333094

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